Dateline: Tbilisi, Georgia
My father’s birthday is tomorrow and, in honor of him, I have to credit him for inspiring the concept that has turned into my five magic words to “Go where you’re treated best.” We often talked in my family about moving outside the United States. Not only did my parents encourage me to consider doing it for myself, but they also considered doing it as a family.
While I loved traveling as a kid, when I was twelve I was more afraid of what would happen to my relationship with my sixth grade girlfriend if we moved than with how amazing it would be to live in New Zealand. For my twelve-year-old self, moving would have been the end of the world.
My parents ultimately decided against it, but I look back now and wonder what would have happened if we had moved then. What if I had become a New Zealand citizen? It would have taken years to get it, but by now I would surely have it after a process over twenty years in the making.
The Big Payoff
Unlike the long drawn out process to obtaining citizenship in other parts of the world, like New Zealand, economic citizenship is the world’s fast track to a second passport. After spending my birthday in Greece, I flew to Armenia to check out the country again as a location of interest close to my base in Georgia.
Monday morning I woke up in Yerevan, Armenia, checked out of the hotel, got an early morning taxi before dawn, sat in the airport lounge, and then boarded the 35 minute flight back to Tbilisi, Georgia. I landed and took a taxi back to my home and had only been home an hour when I got a knock on my door.
It was DHL. They had a package for me and I knew exactly what it was: my Comoros passport.
If you’ve been following this series, I’ve been working with Peter McFarland and Associates. They’ve been great to work with — they’re very direct and they don’t mess around, which I like.
And this moment was the big payoff.
Help me get my economic citizenship!
The DHL guy actually came to my door while I was being interviewed on a podcast. After I signed for the package, I went back to the podcast and was literally opening the big yellow DHL envelope while I was being interviewed. I tore the little strip off the top and opened up the package and, sure enough, inside was my green Comoros passport.
It was a bit of a dénouement moment. Here was everything that all my efforts had been building up to — the entire economic citizenship process, this 26-article series, the commitment and work of actually going out and doing it — and there it was. This moment that seemed to be so big, and I was just sitting in my home doing a podcast when the DHL guy showed up at the door, speaking little English and having no clue what was inside the package he was handing over.[Side Note: You don’t have to declare passports when shipping, although I do know one guy who sent his passport internationally through FedEx and it got held up. In general, though, you don’t have to declare a passport. So, as far as the delivery guy knew, he could be handing over some useless documents. But it was a passport.]
Just Another Passport
I opened the package and there was my passport. And it was green! I’ve never had a green passport before, it’s one of the hardest color passports to get. Countries like South Korea, western Asian countries like India and Bangladesh and then some of the Muslim countries offer green passports. South Africa may be the easiest place to get one. But now I have one with my name on it and it was finally in my hands.
As I’ll discuss in my final article in this series, one of the lessons I’ve learned is that it’s never quite what you imagine it will be. There’s this whole process that people build up to that they tend to make so huge in their minds that it’s almost like they can’t undertake it. Have you ever had something that’s so huge in your mind that you block yourself from doing anything about it? Once you finally do it, though, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.
That’s how I felt. I just thought, “Yeah, this is it. It’s just another passport.”
In my case, the passport came with a very nice, firm, thick-paper naturalization certificate with my citizenship number and with gold colored text and a little seal on it. There was one other little paper in there that was just a small note saying something to the effect of “Here’s your passport”. And that was basically it.
But the actual Comoros passport, when I opened it up, the first thing I noticed was that the information page wasn’t in the back. Being an Arabic speaking country (they speak French and Arabic in the Comoros) I assumed the information page would be in the back like it is in many Arabic and European countries. Even here in Georgia they always want to go to the back of your passport to find the information page, but in my Comoros passport the information portion was in the same place as it is in the US passport.
The first thing that really caught my eye, however, was that the passport seemed a little bit thinner. The US and UK and all those kind of passports are thick. The Comoros passport was noticeably thinner, which makes sense since the Comoros is not as wealthy of a country, so they don’t spend that much money on making passports. Nonetheless, that was something that stood out to me. And that’s something that’s true with a lot of passports, but if you’re from the US or UK you may find that kind of odd at first.
Help me get my economic citizenship!
But there I was and the thought crossed my mind, “Well, what do I do now?” People are always asking me if, when I get another passport, will that be the end of my relationship with the US? Will another passport mean it’s time for me to renounce my U.S. citizenship? Not yet.
For now, I simply have another passport that I can travel on. In later posts I’ll discuss the additional freedoms and challenges that come with using an economic citizenship passport, but for now I’m just getting used to the idea of being a citizen of the Union of the Comoros.
Obviously, when you live in another country or become a naturalized in another country, it’s easier to establish a sense of citizenship there. You have lived there and you’ve met people there and you begin to like the country. That connection comes almost effortlessly with the naturalization process. Having never been to the Comoros, on the other hand, it’s an interesting thing to recognize that I am a citizen of the island country.
With naturalization, even if you go in and say “I’m just going to spend three years in Paraguay to get my passport”, there is a process where you go down to Paraguay and you feel a little bit weepy-eyed when you go in after three years and take the Spanish test and fill out the forms and they hand you the passport. With economic citizenship they’re just FedEx-ing passports. You don’t know when you’re going to get it and you’re not even doing it on your own time. It just shows up when you’re just sitting around the house.
It’s definitely a different process than all the other routes out there toward a second passport. Certainly something to keep in mind. But, if you’re holding back on doing this because you think it’s some amazingly complex procedure, you’ve just got to get started. At the end of the day, you’re just getting another passport.
Get your economic citizenship & second passport
My goal in doing this series is to help as many people as possible become global citizens by obtaining second citizenship. I live this stuff, in part, so that I can better help individuals like you reduce taxes, obtain a second passport and experience more freedom.
If you’d like to work with me directly to create a wholistic global citizenship strategy, then click here. We’ll go through an entire deep dive process to determine exactly what you need — from passports to residency to where you’re going to live — all so we can get you to your end goals.
If you’re just interested in getting a passport and already know which passport is the right choice for you, then you can go directly to Peter MacFarlane & Associates’ website and contact them by clicking here.
If you’re still determining which approach you should take, feel free to keep reading this series to garner all the knowledge you need to form a vision and actionable plan for the future.
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